Shane Byrne has said he would like to stay with the Althea Ducati team in World Superbikes next season, but admits he is currently 'not top of everyone's shopping list'.
The 2008 British Superbike Champion has been out paced by race winning team-mate Carlos Checa so far this season, Byrne beating the Spaniard on just three occasions in a straight fight.
Also outclassed by three of the British riders Byrne beat to win that BSB title, while he is refusing to take away from his rivals' achievements, he is disappointed not to have been able to show the pace that marked him out as a front runner during pre-season testing.
“I am bitterly disappointed,” he told Crash.net
. “Carlos has done a wonderful and is riding really, really well. He can string a lap together, but I think that I have cracked that now.
“Every weekend we set out to be as strong as we possibly can and we should be fighting for top five positions, if not the podium, but it seems a little way away, which is frustrating because we started the season and pre-season tests being real fast.”
Lamenting the lack of straight-line speed on the Ducati, Byrne says he is riding this bike harder than ever.
“The guys that I used to beat to the BSB title are making me look pretty average at the moment, which is difficult to take because I am still the same rider that was beating them when things were a bit more equal.
“I'm taking nothing from the guys on the four cylinder bikes because they still have to ride the things around the track. But I know how hard I have to ride this thing and I don't think I've ridden as hard as I am riding this bike.
“When you're riding that hard but trying to be inch perfect just so you can pick up a bit of a slipstream, that's when you're up against it.”
Turning his attention to next season, Byrne says he will have to wait for his rivals to make their decisions before he can slot in, adding he would like to stick with the Althea team.
“Things are coming together slowly, but surely. If I can get a couple of top fives before the season is out then we'll see what happens. I'm not at the top of everyone's shopping list, so the decision where I ride will come after the others have made their mind up, but once that happens, we'll see what else is available. Althea is great team, so it'd be cool to stay here.”